Livelihoods, Migration and Conflict is the most recent briefing paper in the Tufts University series on livelihoods in Darfur. It is as good as its predecessors and is essential reading for those wishing to understand the dimensions of the crisis of livelihoods and survival. Based on studies conducted in five IDP camps in Zalingei (West Darfur) and residents and IDPs in Kebkabiya (North Darfur) from 2006-8, it explores the roles of migration and remittances in livelihoods.
The report finds that in Darfur, as in other conflict zones, livelihood systems are in transition. IDP strategies are evolving in response both to blocked previous livelihood strategies, and to new opportunities presented by urbanization and the distorting effects of the presence of the international community. It describes how remittance flows have increased slightly since pre-2003, but are available only to a small proportion of the population. Remittance mechanisms have shifted to adapt to insecurity.
The findings have implications for three commonly asked questions:
• If and when will IDPs return back to their rural homes?
• How can a wider range of livelihood strategies be supported?
• Should remittances be supported and in what ways?
The authors conclude that it is unlikely that IDPs will return to their rural home areas and previous livelihoods, and more likely that IDPs will continue to foster their increasingly urbanized ‘multi-nodal’ and transnational livelihoods. This has implications for the policy environment. They argue that innovative approaches to support livelihoods are badly needed, but it is important to monitor and evaluate their impact on different groups, the local economy and environment. In particular the implications of harmful livelihood adaptations need to be recognized and addressed – ‘mal-adaptive’ livelihood strategies might provide food and income in the short-term, but they often incur longer-term costs for the household, and can increase societal inequities and marginalization as well as over-exploiting limited natural resources.
The briefing paper is available here: livelihoods-migration-and-conflict-hy-kj-ao-4.